Monday, August 17, 2015

Back to School!

For the first time in over 12 years I'm headed back to school! I'm tempted to buy a new Jansport just to celebrate the occasion. (I actually still have my original high school Jansport from the late 90's! lol!) 

In July I was accepted into East Carolina University's Masters of Library Science program. I've worked or volunteered in libraries ever since my high school years and after talking with several co-workers about grad school I finally took leap to apply. It was a pretty big thing for me.

I thought about grad school years ago, but my GRE scores were so poor (I've never been a good "tester") that I didn't even attempt to apply to any programs. I thought for sure I'd never get in. I also I had the idea that I still didn't know what I wanted to do when I grew up! :-) (Do we ever really know?)

But considering how much I truly love libraries and how I can't imagine NOT working in a library, I figure it might just be a good time to give the master's degree program a try! And I'm actually beginning to get really excited about it!

I've been a little nervous, as it's been such a long since I've been in school and I've never used online programs like Blackboard or Saba for completely online courses, but I can't wait to see how it works! If you have any tips on completing grad school courses while working full time, I'd love to hear them!

Another big transition for the GLG household is that Michael changed jobs in June. Michael now works with the IT department at East Carolina University and we're able to commute to work together. So we're both ECU pirates now!  There are a lot of opportunities for us both with these changes and I'm excited about what the future will bring!

So Michael's been at ECU over a month now, we're commuting together... which took a little getting used too for both of us...AND... I start school next Monday! Changes... changes.... it's the only real thing you can count on in life... right?

I also want to send out a big thank you for those of you who have kept my Dad especially in your thoughts and prayers! Dad has been doing really well over the past 9 months or so. He hasn't spent a day in the hospital since last November and I'm ever so grateful! His health is slowly improving and he's getting a little bit stronger every day. He even felt well enough a few weeks ago to ask Michael to help him get his good 'ol "pick-em-up" truck cranked and started after several years of not being able to drive it. Dad even had it washed and inspected!

And for my fellow kitty lovers... here's a few of my recent favorites!

Best buddies forever!

Charlie isn't a people snuggler, but he loves sitting next to you!

And Whiskey Jack enjoys viewing the world from a different perspective!

The girls always ready to eat!

High fiving... during a nap, no less! 

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Frugal Five - Homemade Repairs and Returned Ice-Cream

From Katy's wonderful website:

One of my absolute favorite bloggers, Katy of the Non-Consumer Advocate has a series of weekly posts entitled "Five Frugal Things." I LOVE these posts from her because they share little things she does throughout each week that help contribute to her frugal, non-consumer lifestyle. It's the little things we choose to do everyday that help make a big difference in the overall picture. I've learned a lot from those posts.

I've been keeping track of little frugal things I do every week just to keep myself on the right track, to remind myself why I'm trying to save money and use less "stuff": mainly to pay off debt, live more simply, and produce less trash for a happier planet. My hope is to try to start sharing some of those frugal achievements here on the blog, as it's something that's a big focus in our life right now.

Another important lesson lately is that you can be frugal with more things than just money, you can also be frugal of your own resources by using your time wisely and your energies mindfully.

Frugal Five 3-23-2015

  1. Cooked 3 meals on Sunday so we would be less tempted to eat out later this week. This not only saves money on future meals, but saves me valuable time later this week. I'm not always able to do this, just depending on our Sunday schedule, but I was thankful I had the time and energy to get it done this week.
  2. Spent 2 hours last night repairing the bottom sheet of my favorite set of queen size bed sheets. They are about 11 years old, soft and super comfortable, but had lately developed a few very small tears. I patched the pairs and I'm crossing my fingers this sheet set will last another few years, as they are quite pricey to replace. 
  3. Was frugal with my time on Sunday... along with making a few meals ahead of time, I also did all of our laundry from the past two weeks. It was a lot of work at the time, but will give us a lot more time to relax when we get home from work this week. 
  4. We rented a redbox movie on Saturday when Michael's parents were visiting. Redbox DVD's cost $1.60 (with tax) for a 24 hour rental. We used to rent most of our movies from Amazon streaming service, but streaming the movies can cost anywhere from $2.99 (cheapest) to $6.99 for a 24 hour rental. It's definitely cheaper to drive (or walk) the 2 miles to the local Dollar General instead (presuming you always return it on time!)
  5. We also planned on having a simple dessert of ice-cream after a homemade dinner on Saturday with Michael's parents. I bought a box of ice-cream for $3.99 + tax. When it was time for dessert I opened the ice-cream and found that it was really old and gooey and I was just mad. At first I just tossed the ice-cream in the trash and went about trying to find something super quick instead (we had chilled, sliced bananas & strawberries drizzled with chocolate sauce - that had been intended as a TOPPING for the ice-cream! Oh well! It was healthier anyway! lol) -- After thinking about it later though, I realized just tossing the ice-cream was not in my benefit. I pulled the old ice-cream out of the trash and placed it back in the freezer and returned it the next day. For $3.99 + tax, it was worth the very short drive back to the store for an even exchange. 

Is anybody else super lazy and generally not up to returning bad items back to the grocery store? (Shopping is not my favorite...) Trust me, from now on I will be more willing to do returns... (Especially if the item is heading towards the $5 mark! lol)! 

What frugal things have you accomplished this week? 

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Review: Sprouted for Life Gluten-Free Vegan Flax Bread

Sprouted for Life: Gluten-Free Flax Bread

Food for Life graciously sent me two loaves of their newest breads to try. I don't accept many pitches for food reviews these days, as I've become rather picky. I want foods that really nourish my body in addition to being gluten-free and soy-free. I also want them to be plant-based, whole foods. I'd prefer as little added oils, sugar, and salt as possible. Which means most packaged products don't fit this criteria.

However, Food for Life has created a brand new line of healthy, hearty GLUTEN-FREE, VEGAN breads that are really good. Now if you're looking for plain white sandwich bread, don't buy this. I doubt this will appeal to children or those who do not enjoy breads with distinct texture. However in my gluten-eating days, I LOVED Ezekiel bread. I've always been a bit hippy dippy... and whole grain, sprouted Ezekiel bread was my favorite. I loved the dense, rich texture and the grainy goodness!

These two new gluten-free, vegan breads from Food for Life are wonderful. They are great toasted or just warmed in a pan or in the microwave.(I'm not sure I'd enjoy them straight from the package -- a bit dry for that).  I have enjoyed toasting two slices and loading them up with veggies and hummus, it makes a delicious sandwich. It's also great toasted and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon for an evening treat. And the cinnamon raisin variety makes a killer peanut butter & jelly sandwich!

Sprouted for Life: Original 3 Seed Gluten Free Bread

I think one reason I always enjoyed the Ezekiel bread is I felt good about eating it. I felt like I was feeding my body well and enjoying whole and nourishing foods. And that's what I'm enjoying again. Having the convenience of a packaged food, yet also feeling like it's healthy and nourishing my body.

This bread would be excellent for stuffing, for a vegan toast on Sunday mornings, for individual pizzas, etc... I'm going to be asking one of my local stores if they can carry this for me. I'd love to be able to purchase it on a regular basis.

Another nice thing about this loaf, it's a NORMAL sized loaf of bread. It's not tiny, and the slices are actually big enough for a sandwich. Win. Win!

Were you a fan of hearty whole grain breads like Ezekiel before you went gluten-free? Why did you enjoy them? I have a feeling you'd miss them a lot less with this bread in your freezer! 

GLG Disclosure: 
The product samples were sent to me by Food for Life to review on my blog if I CHOSE to do so. 
This is NOT a sponsored post and I did NOT receive monetary compensation. 
The opinions in this post are completely my own.
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